My thoughts when I first saw this picture, as they jumped onto the hamster wheel in my head:
1. Wow, that mannequin is super skinny!
2. But aren’t all mannequins super skinny? At least this one’s anatomically correct. It (she?) even has a bellybutton and nips – clearly they sprang for the high-end model! (Model! Hahahah! Does that count as a pun? Did I just make myself laugh out loud? Yep.)
3. They should buy the best, they’re La Perla. Their stuff is so expensive that even carrying the shopping bag has caché, kind of like toting a Tiffany’s box. Are they the Tiffany’s of lingerie?? Me being so cheap that I wait until Target bras go on sale, I wouldn’t know as I sure have never bought anything from them.
4. Is that even lingerie? If it is, it doesn’t look very supportive. And for that price you ought to be able to do a double back layout and land on a pony jumping off a diving board without risking a nip-slip. (Ooooh I haven’t seen Wild Hearts in YEARS. I wonder if I’d still love it as much without the preteen hormones coursing through my veins?)
5. Diving board. It looks like a swimsuit. But who wears sweat bands with a bikini? Probably makes more sense than wearing sweat bands with lingerie. And is that a leather purse? Except it’s like tucked under her arm, even though it has a strap. Who carries a purse like that?! I would definitely not take a leather purse to a pool. I think the purse has more fabric than the swimsuit. I wonder if it costs more?
6. FOCUS CHARLOTTE. Ribs. Hip bones. They are a little jarring, not going to lie.
7. But would I worry about her if I saw her in real life? Probably not as women carry weight in lots of different ways and heck, if I raise my arms you can see my ribs too and I’m firmly smack dab in the middle of the BMI “normal” category.
8. Did I just compare a mannequin to a real woman? Isn’t that the cardinal sin of mannequins – that they’re clearly not meant to represent real women??
9. You know what would be cool? If mannequins actually did represent real women. But, like, all of us. I think I would be less bothered by this one if she was shoulder-to-fake-shoulder with a mannequin with athletic thighs, one with a big butt and hips, one with tiny tatas, one who carries weight around her waist and, oh yes, a pregnant mannequin. Want me to spend beaucoup bucks on a bra? Show me how it handles droopy bits. Mannequins, represent!
10. “No taxation without representation” just took on a whole new – and way cooler – meaning. It would be awesome if we got a break on sales tax if stores weren’t able to show us what the product would like on someone similar to us.
After a passerby tweeted the picture with the caption “How does #LaPerla think ribs on a mannequin is ok?!” and hashtag #notbuyingit, Lingerie juggernaut La Perla yanked the mannequin from their stores. (Probably not literally although that amuses me to imagine it – her arm would totally fall right off. I know that since my sons did that to a mannequin in JC Penney’s once. We discovered they’re held together with industrial magnets. That you can then use to put them back together in a variety of disturbing-yet-hilarious ways. Not that we did that. Yes we did.)
They quickly issued a statement saying, “The mannequin photographed has been removed from the store and will not be used again by any La Perla boutique. We are in the process of redesigning all La Perla stores with a new concept image and the mannequins that are currently displayed in our US stores will no longer be used. We appreciate and value everyone’s comments, thank you for bringing this to our attention.”
The internet, predictably, went nuts. Some people applauded La Perla’s quick response to the initial outcry, which was quickly followed by a backlash of people claiming it was another example of “skinny shaming” by implying that women with visible rib and hip bones are ugly or sick.
I think this is a perfect example of how convoluted the conversation about weight, eating disorders, thinness, public perception and marketing has gotten. My initial reaction was whoa. But do I think it’s right they pulled the mannequin? I don’t know, honestly. If it was the right choice then stores should be pulling all their mannequins since they’re basically all the same size as this one. And yet by making it more anatomically correct, was La Perla making it less politically correct? Perhaps a lack of visible features – how many mannequins don’t have heads? – gives them a pass on body image standards. But does it? I myself am totally capable of comparing myself to a feature-less mannequin and then feeling badly about my own body because of it. (I’m not proud of it but there it is.) But I do that with real-life women too so perhaps I should just own those as my own issues and not project them onto a blank canvas used to sell clothes I’d never buy anyhow.
Speaking of clothes, how come he didn’t get her feet in the picture? I’m dying to see the shoes they put with that outfit.
What’s your opinion of this mannequin – is it setting a bad standard or just showing a wider variety of body types? Was La Perla right to have pulled it or should they have left it? Added more differently-typed mannequins alongside it? And WHAT is that purse thingy??